The association of banks in Switzerland has confirmed that money deposited there by Jews who later perished in the Holocaust has been donated to voluntary organizations, Israel Radio reported.
When no one claimed the deposits, which may have totaled tens of millions of dollars, they were given to groups such as the Red Cross, which received a $40 million donation eight years ago from the bank of U.B.S.
Now Jewish organizations say a portion of that donation belongs to those who died in the Shoah.
“It is hard to tell exactly how much money was left in the accounts,” said Noah Flug, secretary of the World Jewish Retribution Organization, a group that works to recover assets of those killed in the Holocaust. “There were numbered accounts, safe-deposit boxes, jewelry.”
The total sum in the accounts of the Holocaust victims who had no family or information could be in the “tens of millions” of dollars, Flug said.
Flug said organizations must approach the Swiss government and banks to find a solution.
“Fifty years after the war, many states are trying to arrange compensation for Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. This should be done here, too.”
In response to the issue, Likud Knesset member Avraham Herschson said he would submit an urgent proposal to the Knesset, calling on the government to take the matter into its own hands.
Dan Tichon, also of Likud, said he tried to raise the issue several years ago. The Foreign Ministry refused to deal with it out of concern that it would mar relations with Switzerland, he said.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.